9:30 am, Wednesday, 5 January, 2011 – Atlanta
A status quo I wrote Monday. It’s more a where I am now compared to where I was before I took a three year hiatus from writing. I came to poetry fairly late in my life, not discovering the passion until I was 39, one year after I discovered my other passion: teaching. But a passion it was, almost consuming. Then, I had the energy needed to both write and teach. Ten years on and teaching became the consumer of all my energy. I wrote still, but more and more sporadically. I had built up enough of a reputation that several print and ezines published my poems and then one day I was no longer living and breathing poetry.
I loved teaching, but without poetry a large part of my life felt bleak. A couple of years ago, I started seeing poetry again, in the world around me and knew I needed to write. This year, almost twenty years later, I have retired from teaching to focus on my writing, but oh, what a difference twenty years makes. I lived overseas during that twenty years and submissions were mostly snail mail with a few ezines emerging. I knew nothing of blogs and twitter was for birds or little old ladies.
When I arrived in Atlanta four months ago and dived into the poetic scene that is today, I discovered a vibrant, lively, and above all, connected community. I also had a steep learning curve. I have climbed a long way up the hill but am still learning. I have discovered wonderful people, tremendous support, and am writing and submitting poetry. Can’t ask for much more.
One of the hot topics going around that I have been coming to grips with is the Is posting the same as being published? problem. My initial response is no, but I understand where publishers are coming from, because the poem has been seen if it has been posted. But a lot of what we post are often first drafts in response to prompts, poems which we would redraft and polish a little more were we to submit them for publication. My inclination, at first, was to work on the many wonderful prompts offered, but not to post the results. I have now come around to the other side of the argument somewhat and, as Collin Kelley says, to get the poems out there to an audience. Does it really matter if it is published or posted? Well, to some degree, for those of us not established as poets yet, yes. But we can do both: save poems we would like to see in print and ezines, post poems we want to share and can let go of. I am enjoying the prompts more now that I am posting responses.
Thank you for letting me write that out of my system. I think next Wednesday, I shall continue but down another track: the rather broad topic of submitting.
Tomorrow: The poet is never the speaker. Join me!